As all eyes are on Sunday’s match, top-heavy Pakistan are expected to line up against India in the Asia Cup opener in Dubai with the usual lineup of three pacers and two spinners.
Injury after injury has rocked the Green-shirts’ preparations, limiting their options. In addition, the team pace attack will almost certainly be led by Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf, with Mohammad Husnain expected to be included as the third seamer.
Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz will likely be supported by all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmad in the spin department. Pakistan will be without Shaheen Shah Afridi and Wasim Jr. due to injuries.
The Green-shirts can use either Husnain or Shahnawaz Dahani as the third seamer in the starting lineup. Husnain is expected to be given preference due to his recent appearance in The Hundred. However, if the playing track requires it, all four seamers could be included.
Pakistan’s batting will be heavily reliant on the form of its top three batsmen, captain Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Fakhar Zaman. The trio will carry Pakistan’s batting hopes, with Kushdil Shah and Shadab serving as finishers.
Injuries have also hit India ahead of the match, with the team missing ace pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel. The absence of these players, however, will not lessen the competitiveness between the two teams’ eager to get off to a winning start in the competition.
Sunday’s match will also be the first time the two sides meet since their 10 wicket victory in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 at the same venue. If both Pakistan and India advance from Group A, which also includes Hong Kong, they will meet again on Sunday, September 4, with an eye on the September 11 final. However, they must first overcome the challenges posed by Group B’s top two teams, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
“I know there is tremendous excitement in both countries, but for us, it is just another game,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said. Our preparations have been superb, and we will enter the field with confidence.” Our victory over India 11 months ago at the same venue serves as a good point of reference, but that’s all. While we will continue to reflect positively on it, Sunday and any future matches will be new fixtures played in new conditions. I’ve always believed that playing and performing for Pakistan doesn’t require any additional motivation. Representing your country on a global stage is a huge honour and source of pride, and the goal is always to make the country proud.